All you need is love…

I like getting bargains in our local charity shop and had a look round recently as they had put a lot of Christmas stuff out. One of the items I bought was a little bag containing four wooden letters which stand up individually to spell the word LOVE. Or so I thought!

At home, I got the letters out and put up the L and the O. As I looked at the two remaining letters, I couldn’t work out why I had N and E left and no V! I thought, how silly, did they not realise it had the wrong letter in it? I can’t put these letters up spelling “LONE”!! It must have taken me a full minute to realise they were supposed to spell NOEL!

I did have a chuckle at myself but it got me thinking. I had made an assumption about what was in the bag. I then assumed it was someone else’s fault that my expectations were not met. But however you look at it, it was all in MY mind and nothing to do with anyone else!

We often think we know what’s going on, what people are thinking, why they behave a certain way or say what they do and that nothing is ever our fault or responsibility. But it’s our PRIDE that puts us and our feelings at the top of all other considerations and makes us assume we must always be right. We need to change our way of thinking – then we might be more often patient, kind and loving and less often cross, upset or disappointed!

Romans 12:2-3 NIV
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

Galatians 5:22-23 NIV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

The Meaning of Christmas

Santa’s grotto, party popping,
Fairy lights and Christmas shopping,
Sadly we have gone away
From the true meaning of the day.

Christmas reminds us about the birth
Of God’s son Jesus, who came to earth.
Now it’s been hijacked by man, I fear,
And such a commercial time of year.

The children want more games and toys,
Computers, TVs, tech and noise!
Not wanting their Christmas to be marred
Dad puts it on his credit card.

As Christmas day arrives at last,
The oldies remember Christmas past
When families gathered to celebrate
And logs burned in the open grate.

When everyone met on Christmas morn
At church, to worship the babe new born.
Then came home to turkey and simple gifts,
And put aside their family rifts.

These days the kids are torn in two –
“Half their time with me and half with you.”
They play one off against the other
Unhappy Dad, unhappy Mother.

And so the meaning of Christmas is lost
Amidst financial and emotional cost.
Thank God, despite man’s bad behaviour,
That Jesus IS our Lord and Saviour!

The light of the world…

I just read a Halloween themed advert for Sky TV which says, “Are you afraid of the dark?”

My answer to that would be no, but I would be afraid if there was an absence of light! Where there is light, darkness cannot co-exist! Light always overcomes darkness, since darkness is not a thing in itself but an absence of something else.

Having said that, I have a sense that “Darkness” (should I capitalise it?!) is currently doing its best to push light out of our lives and society! It will never win! Even the teeniest flame from a lit match can be seen for a very long way in a completely darkened setting.

John 8:12 ESV
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Matthew 5:14-16 ESV
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. [15] Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. [16] In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Jesus says both he AND his followers are the light of the world. Our job is to shine until he returns, to hold the darkness at bay, to OCCUPY! He is coming soon and, after the Church is removed from the earth, a darkness, as never before experienced, will take hold.

If you do not know Jesus, please come to him before it’s too late and all that is left is the darkness. Come as you are, he has already paid your debt. But hurry!

Wasn’t it great!

Now the evenings are drawing in and autumn is well and truly here, I thought I’d share this with you. You probably have to be British and over a “certain age” to appreciate it, but I hope it will stir memories for some!

 

One coal fire to heat the whole house. Freezing bed, hot water bottle, sheets, blankets, eiderdown, icy cold bathroom, curtains frozen to the window in winter.

Pre-decimalisation, silver sixpence, threepenny bit, red telephone box, push Button B! Kicking through Autumn leaves, conkers on string,
Smokey chimneys, home, light and third. Wonderloaf blue, Sunblest red… and a small, uncut Hovis!

Brown and white eggs – where did the white eggs go? Silver top milk in bottles, no plastic cartons. Black bakelite phones, party lines, GPO. No mobiles, satellite, digital anythings.

Black and white TV, washer with mangle. Butter, lard and dripping, Sunday roast, home cooking. No freezer, tumble drier, dishwasher, microwave.

Proper seasons, dark very late in Summer, rag and bone man with horse and cart – any old iron?
Metal dustbins, fish and chips in newspaper, shrimps and winkles, jellied eels from the cart.

No seat belts – no car! Motorbike and sidecar, helmet and goggles.
No “potato snacks” – just crisps. No GM, no cloning.

The Britain of my childhood – through rose coloured spectacles.
Wasn’t it great!

The Bystander

I couldn’t see the reason why
He meekly waited there to die.
It seemed a waste of life to me.
“Deny it all! You’ll be set free!”

His life he was about to lose,
For claiming Kingship of the Jews.
But still he wore the thorny crown
As tears of sorrow trickled down.

I knew he shouldn’t be up there,
But all that I could do was stare.
I stood there rooted to the ground
While others gathered closer round.

And so he hung there on the cross,
His mother weeping for her loss,
Until the sky grew black with clouds
And tension rippled through the crowds.

Then suddenly it turned to night –
Three hours without any light.
As Jesus cried out from the heart
The temple curtain ripped apart!

And when I saw that it was finished
The scene before me just diminished
As deep in thought, my heart afire,
I realised he was Messiah.